Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Matins in Bed

One should pray in secret, lest any merit thereof be lost; then again, to share a little of my simple, eccentric joys is the purpose of this blog, as I seek to "psalm wisely", and to speak of matters that may edify, all self-congratulation being excluded, is surely permissible; especially when the matter speaks more of human weakness, and a hesitant step, than of any amazing ascetical feat.

To confess, then: I read Matins and Lauds in bed ere I arose this morning; and the half-hour I spent on this from six o'clock onwards (the sky still dark outside at the start, lightening as I ended) was a most pleasing blessing, a grace more than any self-merited benefit.  In this practice, I followed the good example of an old friend of mine, Bernard, whom I met with in Melbourne last month: he told me long ago that that was his rule, in order to begin the day with prayer in the only time available.  In considering this, let not the perfect be the enemy of the good!  Of course, to arise and pray is better than to lie in bed to do so; but to do so at all is better than not to do so at all.

Nocte surgentes [well, sort of] vigilemus omnes, 
Semper in psalmis meditemur, atque
Viribus totis Domino canamus 
Dulciter hymnos.

Of the various Matins psalms, I particularly like those read on Wednesday, so it was a pleasure to pray Pss 44, 45, 47, 48 and 49.

Then, of course, off I went to Mass at Carmel, to be marked with the blessed ashes and so begin the Christian warfare of Lent, strengthened by the Sacrifice offered and Sacrament received.  So many sins to expiate, so many vices to conquer, so many virtues to gain...

4 comments:

Joshua said...

Day 2 of Lent, and I again managed to awake early and pray Matins and Lauds, Deo gratias!

I enjoy reading in bed at night, so I suppose reading in bed in the morning is not so much of a stretch...

What with Prime before leaving home for Mass, and Terce after Mass, most of the Office is already done to-day.

Rubricarius said...

I am relieved to learn that I am not the only person who has been known to say Office in bed - but only in Lent when there is so much to get through.

Joshua said...

Quite!

Having read various pious stories along the lines of "St X and Bl Y and the Venerable Servant of God Z all most devoutly read their Breviary kneeling unceasingly for hours and hours without slackening, which posture they retained even when raised above the floor in ecstasy (as oft transpired)", I did want to make it clear that I fall into a far more prosaic category of psalm-sayers...

Personally, I far prefer the Dominican tale of St Catherine of Siena, to whom Our Lord would deign to appear, that with Him she would read the Office! The only variation occurred at the Gloria Patri - she would bow to Him, while Our Divine Lord said "Glory be to the Father and to Me and to the Holy Ghost": an understandable amendment!

Now that's a properly liturgical revelation: Our Lady had St Bernadette say the Rosary, but Our Lord Himself uses the Dominican Breviary.

Kate said...

Perhaps the semi-surgere approach forms part of the Dormitionist charism you are so attracted to Joshua?

St Benedict is of course an advocate of propoer posture while saying the Office, but there are many different views on this subject.

Consider for example the story of two Jesuits novices. One asked their superior if he could smoke while praying the Ofifce. He was told no. So he was somewhat aggrieved to come across one of his fellows smoking while saying his Office. When asked how he got permissin, he was told that he had asked if he could pray while smoking...